Todd and I will be following this itinerary, as posted on the ElbrusRace.com website:
|15.09.2013||1||Flight arrival to Min Vody. Transfer to Baksan Valley||Hotel Elba HB||__D|
|16.09.2013||2||Acclimatization walking nearby.||Hotel Elba HB||B_D|
|17.09.2013||3||Transfer to Azau lift station. The opening of the competition. Going up to refuge “Barrels” ~3710m||refuge “Barrels”||BLD|
|18.09.2013||4||Qualifying speed climb from Barrels hut to the Pastukov rocks, 4800 m.||refuge “Barrels”||BLD|
|19.09.2013||5||Relax day.||refuge “Barrels”||BLD|
|20.09.2013||6||Speed Climb of Mt. Elbrus West 5642 m. Descent from Barrels to the Valley||Hotel Elba HB||BLD|
|21.09.2013||7||spare day for the Race or Awards Ceremony & farewell party at the evening||Hotel Elba HB||B__|
|22.09.2013||8||Transfer to airport. Flight from Min Vody.||B__|
Sunday, September 15, we’ll be flying in to Mineralnye Vody (MRV). This airport normally doesn’t have any way to eat or drink in arrivals, but they do generally feed the passengers well enough on the flight there from Moscow. The van driver will pick us up and drive the 3-4 hours to the hotel just outside Cheget, a village near the base of Elbrus. On that drive it’s possible to stop at a quick mart and get water or snacks.
Monday, September 16 we’ll take a taxi or car provided by the hotel to the lifts in Azau and ride up to the Barrels and walk around a little to check out the snow at the foot of the glacier and get some air at 12,000′ into our lungs. I probably won’t walk up very high, and it will be slow so that I don’t get any residual training effect. We’ll ride the lifts down and then take a car to the hotel.
Tuesday, September 17 we’ll all be taken by van to the tram station in Azau with all our bags for the huts. We’ll have the opening ceremony then take the tram up to the Barrels where we’ll set up camp for the duration. The organizers claim that the tram operators will waive ticket fees for the event participants, but I don’t know that this has ever been true. We’ll have to be prepared for that.
Wednesday, September 18 is the Qualifier. We “run” from the Barrels to Pastukhova Rocks at about 15,300′ with a two hour cutoff. Then we have a quite liberal cutoff for the trip back to the Barrels. Like four hours. On this day I had considered returning to Cheget in the evening to spend the night low, but that will depend on how I am processing oxygen and recovery.
Thursday, September 19. Assuming I go to Cheget I’ll have to make my way back up to the Barrels. Otherwise we hang out in the sun and relax. Absorb food and energy. Dry our clothing. Charge our electronics.
Friday, September 20. If the weather is good and all is well, we “run” for the summit of Elbrus, at over 18,500′. We have a five hour cutoff for the 6,500′ climb to the top. And a four hour cutoff for the trip back down to the Barrels. If all goes well, we will then return to the base, and get a van to the hotel. Otherwise we stay another night in the Barrels.
Saturday, September 21. If the weather was not very good, we give the summit a shot on this day. Otherwise we’ll be in Cheget just hanging out. The award ceremony and dinner will be that night, and we’ll be taking a van to that. If we are hanging out in Cheget, it’s a short drive or long walk from the hotel so we can go visit the market and grills.
Sunday, September 22. We wake up early and will be taken by car or van to the airport in Mineralnye Vody. The departures section of the airport is a bit more modern, and will have a small area to eat and drink in it. We then fly to Moscow to end our trip.
Sunday we’ll be getting a dinner at the hotel in Cheget. On Monday we’ll be getting a breakfast and dinner. We’ll be on our own for lunch. We might be able to get a box lunch from the cook. If the weather and tourism is good there are grills up at Mir, the top tram station. Otherwise there will be grills in Azau and Cheget. Worst case we’re on our own and have shakes and bars for lunch.
Tuesday through Friday we’re on the schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some in the hotel, some in the Barrels Kitchen.
Saturday we have only breakfast, either at the hotel or the Barrels. Lunch will be on our own, unless we’re stuck at the Barrels doing the Race on Saturday. Last time this happened they did feed us, though it was meager. Then we have the Celebration Dinner on Saturday night, included in the Race entry fee.
Sunday we have breakfast early in the hotel, then it’s off to the airport.
In the next article I’ll look at this itinerary in regards to clothing and gear. Check back soon.